The Raymond L. Gardner Alumnus of the Year Award was donated by the Seattle Alumni Club in memory of Brother Gardner, a Washington Phi who served as a member of the General Council. The Gardner Award was first presented in 1960, and is annually awarded to an alumnus who best exemplifies the teachings of The Bond of Phi Delta Theta through his activities in higher education and community service.
Brother Joseph W. Royce was initiated into Phi Delta Theta by the Texas Gamma Chapter at Southwestern University in 1961. He is the definition of reliable. He shows up, identifies what needs to be done then works to accomplish it. Since his first day as a Phi, Joe has worked to live up to the Fraternity’s open motto to “enjoy life by the help and society of others.” Throughout his daily life, he exemplifies the teachings of The Bond.
After graduating from the University of Texas Law School, Brother Joseph W. Royce was admitted to the Texas State Bar where he has been a member for nearly 50 years. Joe has spent his professional life as an attorney working in the field of estate planning, family wealth protection and transfer, administration of estates and trusts and the operation of private foundations. During his long career, he has represented many estates before the IRS an in the Federal Court System.
As a board member of many of the estates Joe works with, he donates part (if not all) of his commission and fees to different charities. He has helped the “Heal Sick Children” campaign of Texas Children’s Hospital in Houston and has provided scholarships to many students Southwestern University. Joe gives regardless of whether the recipient knows he is giving.
Brother Royce is an active alumnus of Southwestern University and astute follower of the trends on campus. He was an advocate of retaining Phi Delta Theta ownership and autonomy of its own property when the tide was changing to university ownership of Greek housing. He saw that the benefit of the House Corporation owning the chapter house would have the eventual greater benefit of keeping rent lower for undergraduates. In turn, the lower costs would make students’ need for financial investment in their education less, and it would create a recruitment appeal that Phi Delt’s ‘rent was less.’ His great foresight has set the chapter up for continued success.
As a member of Phi Delta Theta for over 50 years, Brother Royce has made great contributions to the Fraternity. Aside from his time at Texas Gamma, Joe was involved with Texas Beta while in Law School. He has been an active member of the Houston Alumni Club and demonstrates regularly that Phi Delta Theta is a Fraternity for Life. Joe has been a Platinum member of the Trustees Roundtable for nearly 20 years, and he has started multiple scholarships through Phi Delta Theta, most notably a scholarship in honor of Past President of General Council Howard Young.
Keeping with this tradition, Brother Royce joined the True Blue Society in 2010. He is member of the Oxford Society with total gift contribution in excess of $500,000 to the Foundation. His contributions have been directed to scholarships for brothers from multiple chapters.
The brothers of Texas Gamma and Maryland Gamma have Brother Royce to thank for his sponsorship of two Whole Man scholarships. These scholarships send brothers to the Shaffer Honors College of Leadership in Oxford, Ohio every summer. In 2014, Joe attended the Kleberg Emerging Leaders Institute as a Kleberg Fellow. He has been in attendance at the three most recent conventions.
Brother Royce has impacted thousands of lives through his actions, deeds and philanthropy. In nearly every letter of reference for the Gardner Award, it was mentioned that Joe is a quiet, thoughtful, deliberate, and often inconspicuous giver and doer. In fact, he is always quick to pass any credit to others. Also noted was that Brother Royce is a man who always enters into a room or a meeting with a smile on his face and a ready joke to tell.
Phi Delta Theta thanks Brother Royce for his enduring dedication and support of the Fraternity and higher education.